“This is the oppressor’s language yet I need it to talk to you.”
You ask me how to spell
“ain’t” and I want to
write “a-i-n’-t,” those malleable scraps
of sound welded into a graphite
fixture for you to hang
Momma’s scalded hand shooing
you to the rhythm of “ain’t gonna
touch this stove” or the sway of
“ain’t a monster down there”
as she swings you back into bed.
You write “is not” five times over,
the paper spotted in tiny graphite smudges—
your fingerprints, their ridges carved,
into a blooming spiral
from silvery grit-sheen.
Your mouth is small
and indifferent to the grammar
of “wounded” and “victim” that slides
from the reporter’s mouth, as you press
your fingers into the television set.
You say “I want to help those people—
ain’t nobody else going to”. And we make
a diorama of the hospital you will work in. Your hands
resting paper-bodies into beds of felt,
the roar of your whistle-siren
echoing through the room.